Hurling and camogie

Ballycastle and Carey clubs went round the world for Marie Curie

The Kelly clan, who clocked up many miles over the 14 days of McQuillan's Ballycastle and Carey Faughs' virtual venture in aid of Marie Curie. 

BALLYCASTLE to Carey is a pleasant stroll – going on to New York and then Sydney, and back home again, is something special.

The two neighbouring north Antrim clubs, McQuillan’s and Faughs, put aside their rivalry to clock up the miles required in aid of Marie Curie cancer care.

The initial challenge for club members to rack up 5,000km, to get them from the nearby Fairhead beauty spot to ‘the Big Apple’, was quickly surpassed, as was the initial fundraising total of £2,000.

In fact between walking, running, and cycling Carey and Ballycastle folk, at home and abroad, have reached 40,592.93km and raised £16,801 so far. That would have taken them right around the world and home again with 2,463.93km to spare.

The clubs responded to Marie Curie’s ‘Emergency Appeal’ after Covid19 had put fundraising on hold - yet with money for their nurses and hospices needed now more than ever.

Caoimhe McShane, Ballycastle Club PRO, said: “Both clubs have many members involved in the local Marie Curie group, so it made sense for us work together to raise as much as we can for this much-needed service.

“Their biggest fundraiser takes place at the Lammas Fair and this 400-year tradition has also been cancelled due to the current pandemic.

“It has given everyone a great buzz and the clubs’ social media platforms have been used to keep everyone motivated. The posts and the videos have been excellent and have really captured the spirit of what we want to achieve.

“We have also been blessed by the weather and the fact that we live in an area of incredible beauty, with the striking Fairhead linking both Carey and Ballycastle, so it is easy to exercise from our own doorsteps.

“Everyone is very respectful when we are out, crossing over the road and maintaining social distance, calling out to each other so the banter has also been good.

“Families have really enjoyed getting in on the challenge and we have club people from everywhere posting in their pictures from Liverpool, Belfast, county Down, Derbyshire, and even Canada, to name a few.”

After quickly ‘reaching’ New York the clubs decided to keep going and continue on to Australia, adding a further 16,020km to the journey.

McShane added: “There are so many of our young people from both clubs out in Australia and they had already set up their own group out there clocking their distances and making donations, so we agreed it would be a nice touch to go on and ‘pick them up’ - if only we were really able to take them home!”

That apparently ambitious target was soon smashed, the clubs making it to Sydney with five days to spare, so groups within the clubs, including the ‘Carey Fit Club’ and Ballycastle’s ‘Brighter Nights’ crew kept the challenge going.

Winnie McGarry, Treasurer of Marie Curie Moyle group, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response – the clubs came to us with this idea and the uptake has been brilliant; it has been fantastic and shows how generous everyone is in times of crisis, especially in these uncertain times, where there are many individuals and organisations in need.”

If you would like to contribute to the McQuillan’s GAC and Carey Faughs fundraiser for Marie Curie go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/fairheadnewyork

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